Trying To Get To You

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bootleg Friday: Bruce Springsteen & Friends, 2000-2003

My favorite live rock and roll memories have come from Bruce Springsteen, and some of my favorite live Springsteen moments have come from the Christmas shows he did in the first half of this decade with the Max Weinberg 7 and assorted friends at Convention Hall in Asbury Park. Joyous, exuberant and soulful, filled with friends (various E Streeters, Southside Johnny) and special guests (Elvis Costello in 2001, Sam Moore in 2003), these shows have been celebrations of the Asbury Park sound, a soul/rock hybrid that at its best can leave you crying and shaking your ass simultaneously.

At the first Bruce Springsteen and Friends show on December 17, 2000, no one knew quite what to expect. What came was, if not shocking, a night of one "holy shit" moment after another: A country version of "Blue Christmas;" A killer, horn-led version of "Lucky Town;" Listen to the crowd explode when the horns play the intro to "The E Street Shuffle," and the screams of joy that emerge when Bruce plays the first notes of "Kitty's Back," not played since September, 1978. Little Steven and Bruce killed on the great "Until The Good Is Gone," from Steven's Men Without Women album. And then there was the debut of "My City Of Ruins," pre-9/11, which the audience fell in love with from the first chorus of "Rise up!"

In 2001, the crowd had a better idea of what would happen, so Bruce started bringing out more guests. Bruce Hornsby and Elvis Costello appeared at the show on December 8, 2001 and Hornsby plays some, uh, interesting accordion on a hilarious and great cover of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing," led by Springsteen. And Elvis Costello does a touching acoustic version of "Alison," with Bruce on background vocals in the choruses, leading into "Tracks Of My Tears"/"Tears Of A Clown." Southside Johnny does a great mini-set, especially on the sublime Springsteen-penned 1977 ballad, "Love On The Wrong Side Of Town."

2003 was my favorite year for the holiday shows for one reason: Sam Moore. I went to the first night, and seeing Sam and Bruce play together was pure joy and ecstasy. "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" was astonishing; from the way that it was obvious that Sam still had it, and for Bruce's harmonies. Bruce debuted a beautiful cover of "(What's So Funny) 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding," that he would take out on the road for the Vote For Change tour the following fall. A great, great night.

Going to see Bruce in Asbury is akin to seeing Santa at the North Pole. These were joyous shows that brought the Christmas/holiday spirit like few things I've ever experienced. I hope Bruce and friends revive this tradition. It's a great one. If you're into the soul aspects of Springsteen, these shows are nirvana.

Download: "Blue Christmas" 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Lucky Town" 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "The E Street Shuffle" 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Kitty's Back" 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Until The Good Is Gone" (Little Steven) 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Merry Christmas Baby" 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "My City Of Ruins" 12/17/00, Asbury Park, NJ

Download: "You Sexy Thing" 12/8/01, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Intro" (Elvis Costello) 12/8/01, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Alison" (Elvis Costello w/Bruce Springsteen) 12/8/01, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Tracks Of My Tears"/"Tears Of A Clown" Elvis Costello w/Bruce Springsteen), 12/8/01, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "This Time It's For Real" (Southside Johnny) 12/8/01, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "Love On The Wrong Side Of Town" (Southside Johnny) 12/8/01, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "It's Been A Long Time" 12/8/01, (Southside Johnny) Asbury Park, NJ

Download: "Hold On, I'm Coming" (Sam Moore w/Bruce Springsteen) 12/8/03, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" (Sam Moore w/Bruce Springsteen) 12/8/03, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "I Don't Want To Go Home" (Southside Johnny) 12/8/03, Asbury Park, NJ
Download: "(What's So Funny) About Peace Love And Understanding" 12/8/03, Asbury Park,
NJ
Download: "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" 12/8/03, Asbury Park, NJ

16 comments:

KG said...

Awesome, thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

I second KG. Never heard the Bruce/Elvis tracks. Thanks!

bbison said...

The '01 and '03 shows are a couple of my fondest concert memories.

Tom Poynton said...

Thanks Ben! Happy Christmas to ya! Tom (from RMAS)

John said...

The Sam Moore moments were pretty transcending. The wonderful thing about these shows was the controlled joy of the playing and the looseness of the Max Weinberg Seven that in moments easily rivals some of the best E-Street moments post '99 reunion. The killer version of "Lucky Town" replete with horns wouldn't have been out of place on the Tunnel tour if it had been around at the time. Hahah.

Benoit (from Brussels) said...

hey, thanks a lot !! this is Christmas before time !!
One of my best ever wishes : seeing Springsteen on stage in New Jersey... and I know it will happen some day !

Anonymous said...

thank you very much...can you tell me where the 2001 tracks are from? THE SOUNDBOARD QUALITY IS AMAZING!

Dan said...

don't take these down yet! I need a chance to snag them!

PAP DX said...

Excellent! Can't wait to listen to "You Sexy Thing".

SPOOKY FACT : "My City Of Ruins" is 9.11MB in size!

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